Founders Imperial Stout | Founders Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
96
world-class
1,840 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
foundersbrewing.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
75 IBU

Added by mjohn27603 on 01-13-2003

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,840
Ratings:
7,660
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
8.53%
 
 
Wants:
728
Gots:
2,390
For Trade:
153
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,840 | Ratings: 7,660
Photo of sopor
3.26/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Holy hell this is black. And obviously thick just by how it pours. A finger of copper coffee colored creamy head sticks to the side of the glass. If you look closely at a large bubble, it has the look of oil slicked on water. Smells strongly of roast coffee bitterness with a hint of plumby sweetness.

Complex is an understatement, I can taste butterscotch, burnt maltlike coffee, that plumby syrupy sweetness and a bit of hop bittering. The alcohol is hidden. Feels thick and oily, slick and chewy in the mouth.

This beer is too big and thick for me, so it lost big onthe drinkability.

 592 characters

Photo of 05Harley
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled in 09

Purchased through West Lakeview Liquors, Chicago, Ill.

Price - $13.99/4-pack

It's cold as hell out there today and I needed to come home to a winter warmer and this was on the menu.

Appearance: Pours heavy with lots of body and plenty dark. A chocolate brownie colored head forms but quickly fades to bubbles clinging to the sides. Quite viscous like warm syrup on flap jacks. Little to no carbonation.

Smell: Aroma consists of milk chocolate, molasses, licorice and dark fruits.

Taste: A thick coating of burnt chocolate and caramel covers the tongue followed by some hop bitterness. A delicious experience.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, silky and dangerously smooth. Full bodied with soft carbonation. Mildly bitter and dry in the finish. Holy shit this is smooth.

Drinkability: A couple of these in one night is plenty to warm the bones on a chilly night. A great representation of the style and available without camping out in line.

 948 characters

Photo of mikem0487
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, bottled on 12/07/12

A-Poured a thick jet black. Surprised to have no head what so ever in the poor. A incremental sized brown head formed for a moment than receded to the edges. Had this on draft a couple weeks ago and poured a nice foamy head. Complete opposite of what it is now. Hope that does not carry over to the smell and taste.

S-Smells like a great imperial. Roasted dark chocolate malts, mild smoked tobacco in their with prunes, raisins. Minimal hop presence in the nose which does not diminish at all the great aroma this beer has.

T-Roasted malts, dark chocolate, tobacco, dark fruit on the palate. This is defiantly a malt driven beer with the hops for balance. Finish's mildly bitter on the end and leaves a chocolate burnt aftertaste. Very enjoyable brew. Taste great throughout than leaves with that burnt after taste which is not my favorite.

M-Medium bodied beer. Low carbonation. Finishes on the dry side. Great for this style.

O-A great beer overall. I enjoyed it much better on draft than I did in bottle however. The appearance did not resemble the first time I had it on draft and the tobacco burnt taste is more heavy on my bottled beer tasting. This is still a great beer overall but if I had reviewed it when I had it on draft this would have gotten a much higher score. Goes to show you that everything in the brewing process down to the packaging of the beer can take away from such a stellar beer.

 1,445 characters

Photo of Reema
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Serving type: 12 oz bottle into a snifter glass

Pours deep mahogany brown (essentially black). Smell is of intense dark chocolate, roasted coffee, slightly sweet plum scent, with a small amount of hoppiness. Taste reflects the smell beautifully. Initial dark chocolate and toasted flavors lead into a prune/plum like flavor that finishes with a lingering roasty bitterness. Mouthfeel is thick, viscous, and carbonated just right. Overall this is a very good beer with great tastes and scents. An exemplary Russian imperial.

 524 characters

Photo of SwillBilly
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A huge thanks to BA Phatz for picking this up for me. Greatly appreciated.

Appearance: Pours thick, like used motor oil out of the bottle and just as black, not a bit of light gets through. A 1/4 inch brown head tops the stout then fades fairly quickly.

Smell: Chocolatey, sweet with dark fruits, toffee, caramel, a hint of alcohol.

Taste: Starts fruity sweet with plums and raisins as well as milk chocolate, dark brown sugar and coffee. Alcohol shows in the middle but its subtle, its just letting you know its there, especially as my face starts to warm. A bit of citrusy hops show in the middle as well as you taste just of hint of grapefruit and pine. The finish is really smooth with more of the sweet malts, but then a really nice roasty/coffee like bitterness shows deep into the finish leaving the mouth suprisingly dry.

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy, very creamy, smooth, like velvet in the mouth.

Drinkability/Notes: This is one fantastic RIS. Very thick in the mouth with a big, fruity sweet malt backbone. Loads of chocolate, coffee and dark brown sugar offset by a bit of citrusy hops then it all finishes with a really nice roastiness. Even at 10% abv the alcohol is not over the top, in fact it really adds to the flavor profile. The flavor only gets better as the beer warms. A truly outstanding beer. The perfect beer for a chilly, blustery night, slowly sipping while listening to Miles Davis. Highly Recommended, I only wish I had more. Seek and Enjoy.

 1,475 characters

Photo of Janderson91
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 02/09/11. Enjoyed on 07/26/11.

A - 12oz bottle poured into a goblet. Thick, pitch black with just a hint of red around the very edge. A small brown head forms and recedes quickly. Leaves small spots of lacing.

S - Very rich. Dark chocolate, light coffee, a hint of roasted malts and also some sweet milk chocolate. Smells excellent.

T - Wow, this thing is thick and rich. IMO it's even more of a sipper than KBS. Not quite as sweet as the nose implies. Lots more roasted malts, coffee, and dark chocolate. There is some sweet milk chocolate present also as well as a certain lactic character that I enjoy. Leaves a lingering bitter coffee taste on the tongue.

M - Very nice. Very thick up front but some carbonation comes through on the back end.

O - Overall, I love this beer. Founders makes some of the best stouts in the world and this is no exception. I think I enjoyed it even more on-tap but this is definitely worth seeking out in either form.

 966 characters

Photo of camil1mj
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage poured at cellar temp into my Founders snifter.

A: Deep, dark brown. Wonderful 2 finger mocha colored head. Great lacing. Loons perfect.

S: Roasty, chocolate. Great smell.

T: Immediate roasted malt tast. Great tastes of chocolate and toffee.

M: Thick, full bodied and well carbonated.

O: Great imperial stout. One of my favorites.

 348 characters

Photo of dancinwillie
3.78/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

BA has this listed at 25 IBU, while my bottle has it listed at 90. Curiouser and curiouser...

Decants quietly, and dark black. A milk chocolate colored head, about a half inch high is an appealing crown.

Sweet chocolate mixed with roasted malts rise up make my mouth water. Second sniff reveals a fruit aroma, dark fruit, maybe cherries or plums, I'm not quite decided.

Roasted malts, chocolate covered malted milk balls (Whoppers), and burnt malts on the back end. A little bit boozy, not over the top though. And at first I didn't think I noticed any hop flavor, but as usual, as I let it warm a bit I'm picking some up. I guess I have to believe the brewers claim of 90 IBU, and I'm guessing that it used to be 25 and the brothers are busy as usual, but if I tasted this blind, and had to guess between the two numbers, I'd go with the 25. Take that for whatever you think it's worth.

Full in body and somewhat silky, but that bit of booziness gives this a bit of a bite. Long bitter finish lingers, making the distance to the next drink a little less urgent. Sip this one, and enjoy.

Doesn't seem like 10.5% ABV. This could be trouble, I could drink 2-3 if I had the next day off, and on a full stomach. Which sounds like a little bit of heaven, I might have to do this soon. Cheers!

 1,292 characters

Photo of jdoncbus
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep black into a snifter. Thin, mocha colored head that clings to the glass when swirled; oily residue & dot effect.

Creamy aroma of dark roasted malt, kaluha, & pine. The booze dances around the nostrils along with coffee.

Smooth and silky on the tongue leads to woody, dark coffee, molasses malt, and an avalanche of piney-acidic hops & alcohol. The mouth feels dry and I sm left with a boozy burn.

This thing is a sipper from start to finish. A very tasty and complex beer that really packs a punch. I plan to age a couple bottles and see what happens when the hops mellow out.

 592 characters

Photo of Wadsey
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Imperial Stout

Served in New Belgium tulip

A: Pours black with a thin but dense chocolate mousse head. Swirling the beer in the glass reveals an oily appearance on glass. It also resuscitates head and deposits some suds on sides of glass. 

S: Cocoa nibs, ash, chocolate milk, and earth.  Nothing fruity or hoppy on the nose. At subthreshhold of smell, soy and smoke play, adding complexity to the beer.  

T: Chocolate milk was a more apt descriptor than I anticipated. Roast and bitterness step in and rise in intensity, summoning dark chocolate truffles and coffee liqueur on to palate.  Finish is long, bitter and roasted. No/little alcohol is detected. 

M: Medium-heavy body and medium-light carbonation. Mouthcoating, creamy and full. 

O: Such a wonderful interpretation of the style. I don't think Founders could possibly improve this beer. And it is drinking marvelously at 4 months. 

 912 characters

Photo of meich75
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Very dark almost black.

S: Slight coffee smell over the roasted malt smells.

T: A little bit of coffee and chocolate taste. Very good Imperial, one of my favorites so far.

M: Smooth and viscous, feel adds to the flavor.

D: Easy to drink, especialy for an imperial.

 305 characters

Photo of schlimenhaumer
4.41/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass at low altitude.

A: Pours jet black with a creamy three-finger hot chocolate-colored head. Great retention and beautiful lacing.

S: Chocolate and coffee are the strongest smells in my opinion, with a bit of booziness in the background. I also sense some dark fruit smells in the sense that this beer smells a bit sweet.

T: Dark fruits up front with a little bit of heat from the alcohol. There's a delicious chocolate flavor afterwards which lingers in the mouth for quite some time. Great balance and barely bitter at all, especially considering its 90IBU content.

M: Wet and creamy, perfect for an imperial stout. Hides the alcohol content ridiculously well -- this could be dangerous.

D: If you can get your hands on this, buy it.

 777 characters

Photo of predikit
3.96/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick, and deep brown, settles in the glass black. Leaves brown head that leaves plenty of lacing.

Smell is rather muted, some notes of molasses, slightly fruity.

Taste has some dark fruit notes, before quickly sliding into molasses and bitter coffee and chocolate, which take the finish and the aftertaste. Alcohol is well hidden, though I noticed when drinking along side a meal, the alcohol will come out more.

Full bodied, syrupy thick, extremely smooth and creamy.

A very good stout.

 499 characters

Photo of BSiegs
4.73/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Black with a beautiful tan head. Hard to imagine a better looking pour. Great tasting, get a lot of roast, nice bitterness. Supremely full bodied mouthfeel. Fantastic beer.

 172 characters

Photo of MA_hops
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Hard hitting Russian imperial!!
A: Midnight black with a thick, mocha head that dissipates into a thin lacing.
S: Roasted malt, raisins, candied fruits, mixed nuts.
T: Superbly balanced between the roastedness character and the slight bitterness. Tastes similar to the aroma.
M: Big beer, thick mouthfeel. Goes down smooth and with a punch!
O: One of the better RIS's out there!

 378 characters

Photo of punkrkr27
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark black pour with a small, loose, brown head and good lacing. The aroma is a rich, deep blend of espresso and dark chocolate with notes of lush, ripe dark fruit, molasses, brown sugar and graham cracker. Intense espresso flavor with layers of milk chocolate, bakers chocolate, black strap molasses, brown sugar, caramel, dark fruit, and a healthy dose of spicy, piny hops. The mouthfeel is full and creamy with very gentle carbonation.

 438 characters

Photo of Masonz223
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Look: pours a motor oil black with a mocha brown head.
Smell: chocolate vanilla roasted coffe smokeiness a little bit of alcohol
Taste: Dark chocolate roasted notes middle of the mouth the smokeiness hits camp
Fire smoke Chared wood vanilla raspberry milk chocolate burnt molasses finishes with a slight raspberry tartness more smoke in the finish roasted hop bitterness and some alchool sweetness and warmth.
Feel: this is a huge beer with a creamy smooth mouth feel.
Overall: This beer is amazing! I shouldn't of expected anything less from founders. The smoked flavores in this beer took it to a whole different level. If you love imperial stouts do your self a favor and try this one.

 689 characters

Photo of Czarkazm
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Date on the bottle is smudged but this ones at least 2 years old. The color is the epitome of black and looks incredibly thick and chewy, topped with a rocky, dark brown head. The aroma is very roasty, charred dark malts, earthy hops, unsweetened chocolate, some dark fruits, black coffee roast, burnt caramel, and a little vanilla. Mouth feel is thick and creamy with a touch of chalkiness, luscious is a word that comes to mind. Flavor is full of bittersweet chocolate, burnt coffee, stale hops, dark caramel, oak. More of the bitter roast bomb than a sticky sugary mess.

 578 characters

Photo of righthereisay
3.39/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Got this is Swansboro, NC at Harrika's Brew Haus. I was looking for some stouts to try. Didn't particularly like the 10.5% ABV on this one.

Poured into a glass, it looked great. Near black. I'm not into labels, but I personally thought the lablel made it look like a cheap beer.

Anyways, it does smell like coffee, maybe some chocolate, but mostly alcohol.

The taste was rather good. Nice blend of flavors. I thought that there may be a little too much carbonation, but that could be a result of the alcohol. I personally didn't appreciate the bitterness at the end, or the lack of a body.

 593 characters

Photo of nickadams2
4.73/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A_Pitch black with a thick dark brown head that quickly dissipates. Thick lacing.

S_Smells roasty with chocolate,espresso,and alcohol.

T_Roasted malt and dark fruits up front. Bitter dark chocolate and espresso round it out. Very tasty. Alcohol very well hidden with a gentle warming effect.

M_Very thick and very,very cream. Usually dont get too worked up about mouthfeel but this is great.

D_Buy a case.

 409 characters

Photo of JJKBeerLvr
4.78/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into pint glass in September 2015.

Appearance: Dark black with a thick tan/brown head. Head is thick, and sticks to the glass.

Smell: Strong aroma of roasted coffee and malts. There is some hoppiness and a hint of sweetness like chocolate as well, but overall the roasted coffee dominate the others.

Taste: There is a nice balance between the malts and roasted coffee flavors. There is some chocolate and hop flavors to enhance the taste and add some complexity. There is a strong alcohol presence as with other RISs.

Mouth-feel: Very thick, but with a smooth creamy bodied. Not as biting as some other RISes.

This is a typically strong RIS, but it has a variety of flavors that adds a nice complexity to the beer. Although this is a big beer, it is smooth and really enjoyable to drink. Overall one of my favorite RIS, and another beer from Founders that it on the top of my list of favorites.

 924 characters

Photo of garbercury
4.01/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A--Deep dark mahogany with killer amber red head and tons of lacing, beautiful, scores a perfect 5.

S--Coffee is strong on this one, bit of licorice.

T--This is a strong beer taste wise, coffee and hoppy finish dominate. Flavor is heavy duty, dark malts with a hoppy back end that really hits hard.

M--Fantastic, smooth and silky, milkshake like.

D--Heavy and hot, needs time. This is a beer that will benefit greatly by aging...

 433 characters

Photo of jmvecchio1
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Imperial Stout pours out a dark black off the pour - no light is getting through this beer. A chocolate colored head develops and sits on top like a cap until it eventually fades out into some lacing. A mixture of bitter chocolate and roasted coffee greet you on the aroma with some sweetness on the finish. Alcohol takes the front seat on the first few sips, but fades out and allows the beer’s complex flavors to shine through. Hops hit up front, but are balanced nicely with roasted malts that are truly the backbone holding each flavor together. Chocolate and coffee notes are present, but not overwhelming. The alcohol slowly warms with each sip you take.

 662 characters

Photo of adman08
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a very very dark brown, almost black, with a fairly small amount of brown haed that leaves some decent lacing.
S-Aromas of dark, bitter chocolate with some coffee. A very slight hint of smoke with a little molasses.
T-Strong flavors of coffee and dark unsweetened chocolate. Lots of roasted malt but there is some sweetness to balance things out. There is a hint of smoke flavor. Very complex.
M-Very full bodied and a little on the sweet side overall. Light carbonation.
Overall, a great imperial stout. Good balance of sweetness and roasted malt bitterness. Very complex flavor with the roasted/dark chocolate flavor along wiht the sweetness. Really a great beer.

 673 characters

Photo of mtlasley
3.33/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- A thick, viscous elixir pours from the bottle and fills the glass like velvet. It's pitch black light a moonless night in the forest. Sinful is a word that comes to mind. No light gets through this beauty. A small cocoa colored half finger head dissipates quickly.

Smell- I get strong dark chocolate notes up front. Very sweet smelling. There's coffee, followed by that signature Stout roastiness. There's a faint hint of oak lurking beneath it all. Almost a whiff of cherries in there?

Taste- Coffee and deep dark chocolate notes lead off and it's quite pleasant but it trails off quickly into an unknown bitterness. It invites a second taste quickly. The roasty character is almost too strong on the second go and it starts to overpower quickly. I find myself wishing that some of the underlying malt and chocolate flavors could shine through.

Mouthfeel- Rich and sticking. It takes on the velvet quality here in the mouth just like in the pour. It sticks to the tongue and the chops.

Overall- A sweet, decently priced Imperial Stout with some slight balance issues? We can't all be perfect and this beer really shines everywhere else. I'm definitely more partial to the BS, and especially the KBS but this is an easy to obtain winner.

 1,253 characters

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,660 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!